All Aboard: Cruise News for Week of March 23

Viking Cruises plans to hit the ocean, Disney is coming to the waters of the British Isles, and multiple lines cancel Tunisia port calls. Here are this week’s cruise updates.

Viking Cruises will debut Viking Star, its first ocean-going vessel this May. The passenger ship is more intimate than most cruise vessels with capacity at 930 passengers (compared to Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas™, for example, which will hold 4,180 passengers). It boasts an infinity pool with retractable roof, a full-service spa with snow grotto, free WiFi, and world-class restaurants. Every stateroom offers a private veranda, a king-size Viking Explorer bed, complimentary 24-hour room service, luxury toiletries and amenities, a daily, refreshed minibar, a welcome bottle of champagne, and more. Viking Star is scheduled to sail in the Baltic and Mediterranean and is the first of four ocean-faring ships that Viking has ordered for delivery by 2017.

Disney Cruise Line has planned its first ever British Isles itinerary for summer 2016. Disney Magic is set to sail on 12-night cruises, starting June 5, 2016, with call to port in points throughout Europe, including Invergordon, Kirkwall, and Grennock, Scotland; Dublin, Ireland; Le Havre, France; Iceland, Norway, and Copenhagen, while a seven-night cruise will take guests to the Norwegian fjords, reports TravelPulse. During summer 2016, Disney Magic will also visit northern Europe, Greek Isles, and the Mediterranean. Read more here.

Holland American’s newest ship—the 2,650-passenger Koningsdam—will feature “new to the line” dining venues, including a French seafood brasserie, cooking shows, and a marketplace. The “Sel De Mer,” or “salt of the sea” in French, will be a for-fee restaurant which will serve fresh fish and shellfish on ice displays and present local catches of the day. Also, the Koningsdam will have Dinner at the Culinary Arts Center, which will showcase cooking demos, classes, and celebrity chef appearances, while serving farm-to-table dinners. Lido Market will be a complimentary marketplace-style restaurant where passenger will be able to order food on to the go or made-to-order from five themed stations: Breadboard (sandwiches and pastries); Wild Harvest (salads and fruit); Homestead (comfort foods); Distant Lands (exotic meals from the ports the ship visits); and Sweet Spot (desserts). Other eateries will include a Dutch café with Heineken on tap, a grill, and more Holland American favorites.

Koningsdam will debut in Feb. 2016 with itineraries in the Baltic, British Isles, and Northern Europe. It will be the cruise line’s largest ship and the first in the new Pinnacle Class.

Carnival Cruise Line has announced its newest Fun Ship, Carnival Vista, will launch May 1, 2016 on a 13-night inaugural cruise from Trieste, Italy. It will be the first Carnival ship to sail in Europe in three years. The 3,954-passenger Fun Ship line is aptly named, with the first ever IMAX theater at sea, a 450-foot-plus long water tube slide, a suspended open-air SkyRide, a SkyCourse ropes circuit, The Warehouse with video and arcade games, and a two-deck Cloud 9 Spa. The ship will also debut two new Carnival cabin classes, the Havana Cabanas with private outdoor patios, hammocks for snoozing, and private access to the Havana pool during the day; and the Family Harbor cabins with deluxe ocean views, a balcony, a lounge with large screen TVs, and free breakfast and snacks. 

Carnival Vista will call on ports throughout Italy, France, Spain, Croatia, and Turkey during its first season before embarking on a 13-night transatlantic cruise in October, arriving in New York City on Nov. 3, 2016.

MSC Cruises announced MSC Seaside will be its first new ship placed directly in service in North America reports Travel Weekly. The ship will have year-round Caribbean itineraries from Miami, where the ship will be christened in 2017 and where it will have its own terminal area at PortMiami. MSC Seaside is the first ship of a new class, with the second to be delivered in 2018. Read more here.


Port Call Changes

Holland America Line has cancelled upcoming port calls to La Goulette, Tunisia on three cruises through the end of May, says TravelPulse. The seven-day April 19 “Mediterranean Glamour” voyage on Eurodam will call in Cagliari, Sardinia on April 21. The 11-day May 6 “Mediterranean Explorer” cruise on Zuiderdam will now have a sea day on May 9 and will call in Olbia, Sardinia on May 10, and the Zuiderdam’s May 17 “Mediterranean Explorer” voyage will also call in Olbia on May 24, and May 25 will be a sea day. Read more here.

MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises both have suspended calls to Tunisian ports for the remainder of 2015, and Princess Cruises has cancelled its call to La Goulette, Tunisia scheduled May 30 with Princess Emerald, according to TravelPulse. Read more here and here.


Check out these updates from earlier this week!

Now Boarding: Air Travel Updates for Week of March 23

Hotel Happenings: Property Updates for Week of March 23

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